Phantom 2040 is a side-scrolling action-adventure video game developed by Hearst Entertainment and published by Viacom in 1995 for the Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo and Game Gear. The game is directly based upon the animated television series Phantom 2040 but follows a plotline not strictly taken by the show.
The game follows primarily side-scrolling action elements not unlike those of the SNES game Super Metroid, but other aspects of gameplay are considerably different. While Super Metroid has the player focus on collecting necessary weapons and upgrades in a set order, Phantom 2040 instead makes upgrades optional and has the player focus on following the story of the 24th Phantom, who the player controls. However, this style of game progression draws the game back to Super Metroid's style, due to the way further locations are unlocked as the game goes on without previous locations becoming unavailable. At several points in the storyline, players can make a direct choice about which path they take.
Also like Super Metroid, Phantom 2040 has a heavy emphasis on exploration. Each area is colourful, distinct and vast, and it is up to the player to locate the area's objective or exit. Some areas are larger and more expansive than others, and every area offers large amounts of optional exploration to recover helpful restoration kits or powerful weapon upgrades. Some areas are locked by numbered gates that must be opened by destroying the remote lock of the same number, located elsewhere in that area (additionally, some locks can only be accessed if the area is reached by a secret underground network of sewer systems which connect every area). Most exploration is completely optional, and players can go directly to complete the area's objective, which may include locating a keycard, dealing with a boss or simply finding access to the next area. The majority of areas can all be revisited at the player's leisure anytime after they are unlocked.
It is the year 2040, and environmental disasters and the economic Resource Wars of the early twenty-first century have had catastrophic effects upon the Earth's fragile ecological balance. Ever-increasing polarisation of wealth, along with the development of humanoid, robotic "biots" (Biological Optical Transputer Systems), have resulted in a social demographic that leaves the majority of the world's population scavenging in the undercity slums while a select wealthy minority live luxurious lives in exclusive, towering skyscrapers. The Earth's population continues to rise, but without the resources to support them or the jobs to sustain them, they are cast onto the streets of the over-urbanised mega-cities.
The megalopolis of Metropia, a reformed and renamed New York City, is the world's most powerful city-state and within it are the headquarters of the world's most powerful corporation, Maximum Inc. Maximum's mass production of biots and its influence upon the world's corrupted leaders has allowed it to shape Metropia into a cold and metallic urban center, where technologically-advanced buildings and transport systems have replaced any natural plant or animal life. Maximum's chairperson, Rebecca Madison, driven by the violent death of her husband Maxwell Madison Sr. and a desire for revenge against the Phantom who she believes killed him, has plans to construct an impenetrable fortress called Cyberville where the elite wealthy can retreat once Earth deteriorates beyond hope of restoration. Maximum's hidden underground biot factories are illegally constructing Maximum's personal biot army, which Rebecca will use to guarantee the world's collapse so that she may literally take control of the world through Cyberville.
Humankind's last hope for survival rests on a gigantic, hidden stretch of jungle twisting through Metropia's ruins and underground: the Ghost Jungle. It is here that Kit Walker discovers his true heritage: he is the 24th Phantom, sworn to bring an end to piracy, greed, and violence, a role passed from father to son for 500 years. Kit's father was killed with Maxwell Madison Sr. in a mysterious toxic train wreck, and now it's up to the Phantom to stop Rebecca Madison's plans of worldwide domination. Now, the world is the Phantom's jungle...because someone has to care.